Area manager Suki Singh has been speaking to Rachel Dilley, Practice and Business Development Manager at Town Hall Dental, about the charity foundation she helped set up and the work it is doing in the local community…
Running a practice and keeping up with patients’ needs can be a really tough job. Running a charitable foundation alongside that may seem impossible.
However, at Town Hall Dental in Yorkshire, the team go above and beyond to serve not just their patients, but also assist those in the community who need help.
Their foundation helps homeless people and other vulnerable groups, as well as educating children on the importance of good dental hygiene.
I caught up with Rachel to discuss why the foundation was set up, what work they do and how more people will be needing help in the future.
SS: Hi Rachel, can you tell us a bit about how the Town Hall Dental Foundation came about?
RD: Well, we’ve always had an ethos in the business around giving back to others and we wanted to give something back to the community, so we decided the best way to do that would be to set up our own foundation.
In 2019, we launched the foundation in two parts. The first focused on oral health education in schools and nurseries and for adults with learning difficulties, and the second was about providing strong dental care to those who are homeless, have been homeless or have been through an abusive relationship and haven’t been able to access dental care.
SS: How did you come to start helping the homeless in your area?
RD: We started working with a community group called Focus4Hope; they had noticed there was a significant need for people living on the streets to see a dentist. So, we started a pop-up dental clinic, and it was apparent that a lot of people were suffering with adrenal sepsis, as they hadn’t been able to see a dentist.
So, we started treating homeless people and last year we saw over 1,000 unregistered patients and provided them with emergency care, which is quite a phenomenal number.
It has become a passion for us and there is still more to be done. Homelessness is a national problem, as is homeless people having access to dental treatment. Moving forward, it is going to be harder and harder for a lot of people to see a dentist because of the backlogs caused by the pandemic, so that is where the foundation will continue to grow and help people.
Suki: Can you explain some of the other work you do, including with school children and other organisations?
RD: With regard to education, we’ve actually just started a new project which involves sending a video to teachers in schools. Because of the pandemic, it hasn’t been possible to keep up the work we do in schools with our oral health educators.
So, we launched our own online video that teachers can shows students. It is a bit of fun, involves a lot of science and is about continuing to talk with youngsters about the importance of good oral health.
And, earlier in the pandemic, we sent out a lot of packs to local children, along with food parcels, which included things such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, some of the stuff a lot of people take for granted.
Then we work with a host of other groups that continually refer people to us. Through Covid we’ve worked with NHS 111 to help them clear some of their backlogs. We have community groups involved with refugees, hospices for end-of-life care and organisations for adults and children with learning difficulties that also refer people to the foundation.
We help by providing them with dental treatment, whilst also educating them on the importance of having good dental hygiene.
Suki: It’s amazing to hear all these great things you’re doing through the foundation. Do you see the foundation as an integral part of the business now?
RD: Yes, we do. Obviously, the practice and the business came before the foundation, however, that is now going from strength to strength. We are a registered charity which will open a lot more doors, and we are putting a senior management team in place ahead of coming up with some really exciting projects.
Suki: Thanks for taking the time to talk to me Rachel!
Suki is an area manager at Practice Plan
Rachel is the Practice and Business Development Manager at Town Hall Dental